Get some protection

Opinion

Get some protection

Small businesses need to do more to protect and exploit their innovations, according to research published by the Intellectual Property Office.

The 'Intellectual Property Awareness Survey of Business' has shown that only 15 percent of small companies have ever sought advice on safeguarding their ideas. Only 11 percent of firms overall assign responsibility for managing intellectual property (IP) rights. This is compared to 43 per cent of larger companies, meaning that smaller enterprises risk missing out on valuable income from their creativity.

The Intellectual Property Office offers a range of information and services to help companies identify and benefit from their inventions and designs including a free online IP Healthcheck tool to help businesses understand different areas of IP; workshops throughout the UK to teach business advisors about IP; an IP Master Class course in partnership with Coventry University and the British Library; free regional IP awareness seminars for businesses; and free guidance documents on a range of IP topics, from outlining the basics to country-specific IP guides for UK exporters to Brazil, China, Korea, India and Vietnam to help British companies in the major markets around the world.

This is the second awareness survey commissioned by the IPO. It involved 20,000 businesses of all sizes and from all industry sectors across the UK, and aimed to find out their level of awareness about intellectual property including trade marks, patents, copyright and designs.

This was first published in April 2011

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